How to Set Up Bank Account Alerts

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Our lives are busy, and it can be easy to lose track of the different transactions making their way in and out of our bank accounts. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help manage checking and savings accounts. One of the most accessible financial tools banks offer their customers is account alerts.

Bank account alerts are a low-tech and easy way to monitor your checking and savings accounts. You can set up a bank account alert at any time to help prevent account overdrafts, avoid fraud and keep a closer eye on your finances. Here's how to set up bank account alerts.

Types of Bank Account Alerts

Bank account alerts are simply digital notices your bank sends to you by email, text message or push notification. They provide a way to keep track of banking transactions that you deem important. Below are some examples of the types of alerts your bank may allow you to set up.

  • Large purchase alert: You can opt to receive messages for large debit card transactions. For example, if you would like to be notified of debit amounts over $200, you'll receive an alert anytime a single purchase exceeds that amount.
  • Low balance alert: Perhaps you would like to keep your account balance above a certain minimum threshold. In this case, if your account goes below the amount you set, you'll receive an alert. This can be a helpful way to avoid account overdrafts (and the fees that come with them) and to ensure you have enough money in your account to pay bills.
  • ATM transaction alert: Banking via ATM is a common part of many people's banking experience. Some banks will alert you each time your debit card is used at an ATM to withdraw or deposit money.
  • Transfer alert: This notification lets you know anytime money is transferred into or out of your account. You may be able to specify transfer amounts above a certain amount, say $500, if you want to receive fewer notifications.
  • Deposit alert: Get an alert anytime a deposit posts to your account, or a deposit over a certain amount posts, depending on your preferences and the bank's capabilities.
  • Fraud alert: This type of bank account alert may be one of the most important you can receive—and is typically one your bank provides automatically. If your bank suspects fraudulent activity with your bank-issued credit card or debit card, you'll be notified immediately. Keep in mind, this is different from a fraud alert you can set up for your credit reports and instead relates solely to your bank card or account.

Your bank may offer more or different types of bank alerts to their banking customers. If you're not sure what's available at your bank, check your bank's online portal or app, call the toll-free number, or visit your branch and speak with a customer representative to find out what alerts you can place on your accounts.

How to Set Up Bank Account Alerts

Fortunately, it's not too difficult to set up bank account alerts. Each bank's online portal will be slightly different, but here is a general idea of how to approach the process.

  1. Decide what type of information is important for you to know in order to maintain a healthy bank account. While a large purchase or ATM transaction alert may be helpful to some, others may prefer to receive alerts only when their balance dips below a certain amount.
  2. To set up your alerts, sign into your online banking portal and go to your accounts or account services. Click on "manage alerts" (your bank's instructions may be slightly different) and choose the alerts you'd like to receive. If you're setting up alerts for large purchases or low balances, you'll set your alert thresholds at that time.
  3. Decide how you want to receive your alerts. The three primary ways your bank sends alerts are:
    • Text message
    • Email message
    • Mobile push notification

Once you confirm your choices, you'll start receiving alerts.

Why Are Bank Account Alerts Important?

Bank account alerts are extremely user-friendly to set up and offer a helpful way to manage your account. If you're working toward specific financial goals, bank account alerts are an ideal way to avoid financial oversights or mistakes that could potentially derail your plans.

Importantly, bank account alerts can also notify you of potential fraud. Whether it's an ATM transaction you didn't make, a fraudulent money transfer or a large purchase that isn't yours, bank account alerts can let you know immediately if your account needs urgent attention.